Release Date: September 3, 2019
Thank you to Page Street Kids publishing team for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review!
“Saved!” meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.
When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.
Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.
You know the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover?” I’m so guilty of that. I saw the book cover with the Precious Angel statue on the cover and was like yeah no this isn’t for me. Then I read the synopsis and knew I needed to get my hands on it. A non-Christian going to Jesus camp to win back her religious boyfriend? Sign me up. I loved this book, I loved Cece, I loved Paul, I loved Cece and Paul together and Cabin 8 forever!
Never have I ever laughed so much while reading a book. Have a Little Faith in Me was hilarious to the point where I had to explain to people why I was just randomly laughing while on my phone reading. While there were funny parts to it though, this book tackled some hard topics. While obviously there isa lot of religious discussion happening in this book, there was a huge emphasis on sex and consent. All three are trigger topics, but I think Hartl handed them all beautifully and in a respectful manor. If you are deeply religious I’d pass this one up.
Sex is discussed a lot throughout this novel. It’s portrayed as a taboo topic for these kids who have grown up in religious households so they of course discuss it between themselves quite a bit. I mentioned the topic of consent earlier and I’d say the last half of the book discusses what exactly consent is and how it works versus what it’s thought to be. As a 25 year old who has had a couple serious relationships I though I knew what consent meant. There is so much more to it then I really ever considered and for that topic alone I’d recommend this book to other women. Since consent is discussed rape is brought up a bit, but’s not called out directly. It was more how Cece opposed some of the Christian seminars about how women tempt men by what they wear or “signals” they might accidentally send to give guys the wrong idea. It was another important aspect of the book that is a hot topic in society lately.
Besides all the kicka** feminism and sex talk, the side characters were another amazing part of this book. Genuine friendships are formed between the girls of Cabin 8 and they were all fleshed out, real characters that had their own thoughts and opinions that maybe didn’t quite align with the strict Christianity they had grown up with. They had the same questions all teens have at that age, just lacked the parent communication and other ways to get the answers to those questions. It was nice to see them take what they were taught and make it their own, not in a self-righteous way, but in a teenage girl way.
There obviously is some romance in this book with Cece trying to get her ex back and then fake dating her best friend Paul. It was of course predicatable in the outcome but it didn’t make it any less interesting and is in fact one of my favorite troupes. Cece and Paul have a real connection and while they may tease and make fun of each other, at the end of the day they will always be there for each other.
Have a Little Faith in Me will be added to my list of Favorite Books of 2019. If you want a good laugh, a book that takes on some hard topics, or even just a book with a romantic twist to it I highly recommend picking up this one.